Le Mans 24 Hour and Sebring winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro fought back to stop their Audi team-mates from recording a third consecutive victory in stifling heat at the Texas Motor Speedway overnight. Alan McNish had earlier set pole ...
Le Mans 24 Hour and Sebring winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro fought back to stop their Audi team-mates from recording a third consecutive victory in stifling heat at the Texas Motor Speedway overnight.
Alan McNish had earlier set pole position with the Audi R8 he shares with Rinaldo Capello and the Scottish/Italian duo dominated much of the Texas race.
However, the Audi Sport team lost radio contact with Capello late in the race and while Biela and Pirro were able to make their final fuel stop under a yellow flag safety car period, Capello later had to pit under green flag conditions, handing victory to their team-mates.
"We have a very good crew, and it's because of that that we were able to win. I have to hand it to them. The car was perfect at the end," Biela said.
Despite taking the win, Pirro agreed their #78 car was fortunate to win.
"I'm really happy, but, to be honest, car 77 was quicker," Pirro said.
"We were lucky on pit stops. We had an unlucky day in Canada at the last round at Mosport, and today was our day."
Australia's David Brabham finished third with Jan Magnussen aboard their Panoz LMP-1.
"We didn't change tyres at the first driver change and it took a couple of laps to get used to the car because I was struggling with a lack of grip," Brabham said.
"But we had no chance of catching the Audis today. Every race we learn more about our car and are improving the package all the time.
"The team is working very hard to bridge the gap, but we will have to wait and see next week at Portland. I won there last year, so it would certainly be nice to repeat that effort."
The Dodge Viper domination of the GTS division has finally been toppled with Ron Fellows, Andy Pilgrim and Justin Bell taking victory for the Chevrolet Corvette team.
Despite the fact the race was run at night, the temperature remained well over 100º (F), forcing the Corvette squad to draft in Bell as a third driver for the event.
Many drivers struggled with soaring temperatures inside the cars, with some - including female racer, Jennifier Tumminelli - having to be rehydrated by intravenous drip.
The GT division was taken out for the second race in a row by the Randy Pobst/Bruno Lambert Porsche GT3-R. <pre> RESULTS - PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. - Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro - Audi - 127 laps 2. - Rinaldo Capello/Alan McNish - Audi - 127 laps 3. - Jan Magnussen/David Brabham - Panoz - 126 laps 4 - Jorg Muller/JJ Lehto - BMW - 124 laps 5. - Bill Auberlen/Jean-Marc Gounon - BMW - 124 laps
GTS DIVISION 1. - Ron Fellows/Andy Pilgrim/Justin Bell - Chevrolet Corvette - 116 laps
GT DIVISION 1. - Randy Pobst/Bruno Lambert - Porsche GT3-R - 112 laps
PROTOTYPE POINTS AFTER ROUND SEVEN: Jorg Muller (BMW) 163, JJ Lehto (BMW) 160, Alan McNish (Audi) 150, Frank Biela (Audi) 149, Rinaldo Capello (Audi) 145, Emanuele Pirro (Audi) 147, Jan Magnussen (Panoz) 142, David Brabham (Panoz) 128, Bill Auberlen (BMW) 115, Jean-Marc Gounon (BMW) 107.